May. 10th, 2014

Heh! So the reason I am at this conference is someone asked me to be a discussant at their symposium--I get to run the discussion portion, ask questions, encourage new ideas, etc. So I put some effort into it, pulled together some slides and thought a lot about the topic, took notes carefully during the first three talks--until the last speaker stood up and I realized this was a two hour session, with 4 speakers each of whom had a 30 minute talk. The guy who organized it had left no TIME for a discussant! It ended when he was done.

He had the grace to apologize sincerely, and I wasn't really angry--I was disappointed because I'd taken the job seriously and put some time into it, and I thought I would have been good at it. And it's embarrassing to me since some people knew I was there to be the discussant and that I was looking forward to saying something. I hate to look like a fool, but enh. I doubt anyone much thought about it at all.

Seriously, I'm figuring I can write a review paper based on what I was thinking about. I had to organize my thoughts a few times, and I came up with some things I don't think I've seen other people say before. So I need to spit that out really quick--it'd be a timely position piece that some people might find useful, though I'm not sure where I'd submit it.

Other than that: Thursday's trip was a disaster. Not only did we circle La Guardia for half an hour, we didn't land there at all--we couldn't because of some shifting of the runways (they were only using two, and the runway they were using to land required the plane have some GPS equipment that ours didn't have), so we got sent not to Newark or JFK but to Hartford, of all places. We were supposed to refuel and head back out at 11 am, but we hadn't budged by 11:30. So various folks hopped off and booked a train or taxi to New York, and after trying to get a rental car and looking into the train schedule, I said fuck it and got a cab. However, a nice older man also needed to get to NYC and wanted to share a cab, so that worked out well. Turns out he was an Episcopal priest from Atlanta, coming to NY where the Episcopal church headquarters is. We had some good conversations--though what was supposed to be a 2.5 hour trip, turned into almost a 4 hour trip due to accidents clogging the freeway and our driver putting the wrong address into his GPS and ending up in New Jersey, etc. I was starving, shaky and queasy by the time we finally got to the hotel at FOUR PM. It might have been better to stay on the plane--they finally left Hartford around 1 pm and got in to La Guardia at 2 pm. But I heard horror stories about multi-hour trips from La Guardia into the city, from other people at the conference, so who knows.

However, I got the last talk of the day which was one I really needed to hear, and Jufo introduced me to other people doing hallucinations research from France, who gave me some ideas about analyses we can do on our data, which is very cool. Jufo actually introduced me to a lot of people at the poster session, until she got wrapped up in something and I wandered off to look at other posters. I bumped into Dama whom I haven't interacted with in YEARS, and her work on sleep spindles in memory consolidation has blossomed into similar work in predispositions to psychosis and is truly fascinating. :) I'm thinking Elwa might be able to put that to use... Particularly if you could improve function just by giving people Lunesta, which is what Dama seems to be finding!

The reception was looking to be a drag--I hate standing around scanning for faces I might recognize--so I took the tack of talking to strangers rather than looking for someone, and ended up discussing serotonin with a guy who it turns out works right next door to Lewa at Northwestern! They know each other well, *and* I got yet another suggested technique to apply to resting state fMRI data, to dig into the raphe nucleus (holy smokes, where IS the raphe nucleus?). And then Dakema came by, and Theva stopped by, and Theva being 8 feet tall tends to draw other people. :) So I ended up going to dinner with Theva and Dagl and a bunch of folks who form a UPenn/UCSD/UCLA nexus, many of whom I've met over the years but some I've only read their papers. :)

So far, so good...



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